Every text in Scripture has a gospel context and gospel connection. It is vital that we make these connections as we read Scripture. This is especially true for sections that are heavy with imperatives (commands). The following is a simple yet helpful breakdown of the connection and the commands in Romans 12.
The “therefore” at the start of Romans 12 can be taken to mean, “the exhortations that follow in light of Romans 1-11.” Paul writes, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God.”
So because of the great doctrines of creation, righteousness, depravity, faith, propitiation, justification, union with Christ, sanctification, glorification, election, divine freedom, therefore, by God’s mercy and grace we can receive and respond to the following imperatives:
- present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God
- Do not be conformed to this world, but
- be transformed by the renewal of your mind
- he [ought] not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but
- think with sober judgment,
- let us use our gifts that differ according to the grace given to us
- Let love be genuine.
- Abhor what is evil;
- hold fast to what is good.
- Love one another with brotherly affection.
- Outdo one another in showing honor.
- Do not be slothful in zeal,
- be fervent in spirit,
- serve the Lord.
- Rejoice in hope,
- be patient in tribulation,
- be constant in prayer.
- Contribute to the needs of the saints and
- seek to show hospitality.
- Bless those who persecute you;
- do not curse those who persecute you.
- Rejoice with those who rejoice,
- weep with those who weep.
- Live in harmony with one another.
- Do not be haughty, but
- associate with the lowly.
- Never be wise in your own sight.
- Repay no one evil for evil, but
- give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
- live peaceably with all (if possible, so far as it depends on you)
- Never avenge yourselves, but
- leave it to the wrath of God. . .
- if your enemy is hungry, feed him;
- if he is thirsty, give him something to drink
- Do not be overcome by evil, but
- overcome evil with good.
(HT: Justin Taylor)